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Columbia motel to become affordable housing units for families

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A motel on Two Notch Road in Columbia will be redeveloped into affordable housing for families with children.

United Way of the Midlands and Homeless No More announced on Feb. 23 the development of Grand Village, a new housing development to replace the existing Grand Motel and Apartments, according to a news release.

Grand Village will provide 40 efficiencies, two- and three-bedroom homes for families with children at affordable rates, according to the release.

“The range of income eligibility allows this new housing to serve as a launch pad for working families to improve their economic security,” said Lila Anna Sauls, president and CEO of Homeless No More. “The design is based on the history of the motel and the famous sign, as it’s been a fixture in the neighborhood for decades.”

Sauls is referring to the distinctive neon sign with a large star and the Grand Motel logo that is visible from Two Notch Road at the front of the property.

The gated community will use innovative design, serving as a new gateway to the Two Notch and Beltline corridor, according to the release. On-site services will be provided by Homeless No More and other community partners and include access to after-school and mentoring programs, plus healthy cooking and employment advancement classes.

The development of Grand Village addresses one of United Way of the Midlands’ goals of increasing options for quality housing through one-time seed funding.

“We know the Midlands lacks an estimated 50,000 units of attainable housing, and United Way of the Midlands can’t solve our current housing crisis alone,” said Sara Fawcett, President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “So, we’re partnering with organizations like Homeless No More and investing in our community’s capacity to create attainable housing that is new and innovative, targeting people most in need.”

The $6.5 million project is also supported by S.C. Community Loan Fund, Central Carolina Community Foundation, and Richland County and is expected to open to its first residents by 2024.

Funding supporting this partnership came from the gift of $10 million to United Way of the Midlands from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It is the largest gift from an individual donor in the organization’s history. In 2021, United Way’s Board approved a spending plan for the gift, including significant investments in innovative housing across the agency’s six-county region.

United Way of the Midlands responds to community needs in Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties.


Christina Lee Knauss is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.

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